1. Plant Pushers
More than half of all diners (59%) say they eat meatless meals at least once a week, according to Technomic. And while plant-forward menuing is not necessarily new to noncommercial, operators are ramping up their veggie-based offerings to appeal to plant-centric and flexitarian diners alike. From meat analogues to creative preparations of grains, legumes and more, chefs are taking up more plate real estate with nonmeat items.
51% — Amount of diners who say they actively seek out nutritious foods that are good for them, according to Technomic consumer data
2. Waste Not
With awareness growing about food waste in America, noncommercial operators are ramping up zero-waste efforts. It’s estimated that 40% of food produced in the U.S. is wasted, according to the National Resources Defense Council. Although an increase in composting has redirected some of this waste from landfills to on-site gardens and farms at a number of operations, chefs are reevaluating food scraps for their menu potential.
3. Battling Food Insecurity
One in 6 U.S. children experiences hunger. One in 5 college and university students regularly skip meals to prioritize other expenses such as transportation, books, healthcare and tuition. And more than 4.9 million senior citizens are food insecure. The noncommercial industry shares the goal of satiating hunger—and many are adjusting their offerings and procedures to better nourish those who need it most, through free and reduced-price meals, meal delivery and more.
35% — Amount of diners who say they have no choice but to eat meals on the run, according to Technomic consumer data
71% — Amount of consumers, ages 18-24, who are most likely to say they pay close attention to menu prices to find the best value for the money, according to Technomic consumer data